Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: FAMILY (01/21/16)
TITLE: Forever Family
By Judy Sauer
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The gentleman who passed away was my manager for many years. He was a gentle man, a soft spoken man, and liked by everyone. When Eileen, his wife, visited Don at the office, she always had an embracing hug for me. She was full of life and positivity.
When it was my turn to speak with his widow, Eileen, her eyes grew wide open as she greeted me by name with enthusiasm and joy. She smiled passionately, and grabbed my hand, and pulled me closer to her. Joy at a time like this may have seemed inappropriate, but not with the forever family of my former employer.
Eileen jumped off the pedestal seat and squeezed me tight with a bear hug that felt so good; it lasted longer than a usual hug. I let her decide how long to hug because I didn't want to break loose before she was ready to let go.
Once released from the hug Eileen so badly needed, she wiped her tears, and repositioned herself back on the chair. Eileen explained what happened to Don.
"He slipped in the shower three weeks ago. He seemed fine, and the doctor said he was okay." She stopped speaking, took a long pause as tears began to form. Her hand trembled as she reached for a bottle of water. "Then one morning Don would not wake up.” She abruptly stopped talking, took in another long breath then continued. “The autopsy said from his collision with the porcelain tub that a blood clot had formed during the weeks after his doctor’s visit. The clot then traveled to his heart.”
To his heart…how sadly fitting for a man with a big heart.
When Don married Eileen, she had a daughter, Laura. He accepted Laura as his own daughter, and became her father for the rest of his life. Eileen and Don later had a son, Tim. I would hear family stories from Don, and we would laugh at the antics. I remembered how he gave details of Laura’s teenage mood swings. “Those bumps in the upper back are not back bones. They really are her crabby wings. It’s all kinds of ugly when those come out. Those were Midol moments.”
We had a hearty good laugh when he shared Tim’s scouting adventure about getting lost in the woods. “He tried to start a fire to keep warm. When one of the leaders found him, he put out Tim’s fire. Starting a fire in the woods wasn’t a well-thought out plan, but it seemed the right thing to do for a twelve year old boy.”
Eileen scooted off the pedestal seat again. She filled me in on Laura's and Tim's lives—how proud she was of both her adult children. Realizing how long we had been reminiscing, I suggested I best move on so she could visit with others. She agreed. Eileen gave me another endearing hug, and whispered, "I love you, and Don loved you. He always said you were his best employee." Tears welled up in my eyes; I was saying goodbye to Don forever. My life is blessed for having known Don, and Eileen.
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